The rookie-level VSL Cardinals had a 2-3-1 week to close out a 31-34-4 season in the eight-team league, finishing in fifth place, 13.5 games out. Alberto Rivero and Geney Rios are again among this week's standouts.
The Venezuelan Summer League
Cardinals finished off the 2008 season on a sour note and didn't gain any ground
in the standings. The team did stay
in 5th place in the eight team league, but fell an extra 2 ½ games
back to 13 ½ out of first. The
Cardinals ended the previous period with a win and started this one with a two
game losing streak, with one cancelled game in between. The team came back to take the next two
and lost the next.
Well, the kicker was the
Rookie-Level club ended the season with a tie. And I bang my head on the desk asking
why a tie? Why not play it out? It's the last game, blah. So the Cardinals go 2-3-1 this week
finishing the 2008 season with a 31-34-4 record.
After their scheduled day off, the
Cardinals visited the Phillies for a doubleheader. The team had some great pitching,
holding the Phils to only two runs.
The Phillies brought even better pitching, holding the Cardinals to only
four hits and no runs. The game was
played a full nine innings and the second game was cancelled due to
Game two of the week ended the
same as the first. The Cardinals
came very close to beating the 2nd place Mariners. But the home team prevailed in a 5-4
loss won by the Mariners in the 8th inning. The Redbirds reliever blew the save and
literally threw the game away with a throwing error. The first seven runs scored by both
teams occurred in the first frame of the game.
The following game, the last place
Tigers visited and pounded out 15 hits, ten coming off the Cardinals'
starter. This is probably a good
example of why they are in last place, getting hits and leaving them on base or
hitting into double plays. The
Cardinals turned three double plays and drove in four runs. One error was committed by the Redbirds,
allowing a run to score. Cardinals
The second game of their winning
streak came courtesy of the Mets.
The Cardinals had a 5-0 lead heading into the 7th when the
Mets roughed up their reliever for four runs. The Cardinals pulled him and put in
their young guns, who held their opponents to three hits and no runs in the next
two frames and the hitters added some padding with a 6th run in the
The Cardinals would host the
1st place Pirates for the second to last game on the schedule. The Pirates ended the Cardinals winning
streak at two and knocked the Redbirds out of the game within the first five
innings. Some Cardinals faces we
haven't seen in awhile made returns and probably should have stayed in the
pen. Each Redbirds reliever
averaged one run per inning pitched for the last five frames. The Pirates took the contest 9-5 after
the Cardinals made a small comeback in the 8th and 9th
adding four runs.
And the final game of the season
ended in a 3-3 tie. The home team
Rays scored the first two runs in the 1st and the Cardinals followed
and took the lead with three in the next five innings. The Redbirds starter gave a run away in
the 7th with a pickoff error and neither team scored after
With the Cardinals finishing 13 ½
games out first and 9 ½ out of 2nd place, they will not be
participating in post-season action.
The Pirates and Mariners will face off in a championship series to
determine the overall 2008 VSL champ.
Alberto Rivero continued his dominance at the
plate this week. The 19-year old
centerfielder went 9-for-22 (.409) with two doubles, two RBIs, two runs, one
walk, and three strike outs. In his
last ten games he went 15-for-37 (.405) and had five multi-hit games for the
Cardinals. A correction from the
last report: Rivero's hitting streak ran from July 7-17, but his on base streak
ran from July 2-28. A very
impressive end to his 2008 season as he nudged his batting average up to .309
overtaking Gerardo Mannbel for the team lead and he also had 33 RBIs and
73 hits for the team best. The
5'10" 150 pounder had two outfield assists, one on July 30 and the other on
Anthony Fonseca ended his season on a positive
note, like Rivero. The 19-year old
right fielder went 6-for-18 (.333) with two RBIs, three runs, three walks, one
stolen base, one hit by pitch, and five strike outs. The Cardinals' February 11, 2007 free
agent signee had two multi-hit games and his first three games of the week he
had one outfield assist in each.
Fonseca finishes off the 2008 season with a .265 batting average
(6th on the team), 28 runs (3rd), two triples
(2nd), and 11 stolen bases (team lead).
Geney Rios made another impressive start this
past week. On July 31, the 20-year
old right-hander pitched six scoreless innings allowing only two hits, one walk,
and striking out five. The team
drove in five runs and the bullpen kept the Mets to only four runs, giving Rios
his 4th win on the season.
The Cardinals' March 4, 2006 free agent signee allowed eight hits and one
earned run in 19 innings while striking out 19 and collecting three straight
wins. He ends the season with a 4-3
record, 2.49 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 26 walks over 68.2
Carlos Noguera might have given up the hits this
week, but kept them on base. The
18-year old right-hander made his only start July 30 allowing ten hits, no runs,
and striking out four in 5.2 innings.
He also had a throwing error, which didn't affect the score, and picked
up his 2nd win for the season.
The Cardinals' July 11, 2006 free agent signee allowed 22 hits, two
earned runs, one walk, and struck out 12 over 20 innings in his last four
Yonathan Gonzalez again was pulled back and forth
between starter and closer this week, and again impressed. The 20-year old right-hander came in for
a save opportunity on July 31, pitching one inning allowing one hit, no runs,
striking out one, getting the other two batters to ground out and fly out. This gave Gonzalez a team-leading nine
saves and 25 game finishes. On
August 2, in need of a starter, the club tapped the third year VSL participant
for his second start of the season.
He went on to pitch seven innings, allowing five hits, three runs (two
earned), one walk, striking out five, and throwing the ball away on a pickoff
attempt. He didn't get the win as
the bullpen gave up a run and the hitting couldn't get a run across the plate,
as the game ended in a tie.
Gerardo Mannbel went hitless in his last two
games of the year and saw his average drop further this week. The 18-year old shortstop went 4-for-22
(.182) with two doubles, two RBIs, two runs, three walks, one stolen base, and
four strikeouts. He showed a little
life mid-week having a three game hitting streak and picking up the two doubles
and two RBIs, but couldn't keep it going.
Just a couple more at-bats and the 5'11" 165 pounder could have seen his
batting average fall under .300.
Mannbel ends the season with a .302 batting average and led the team with
33 runs, 14 doubles, four home runs, 99 total bases, 28 walks, a .401 OBP. He also picked up another fielding
error, putting him at 19, second on the team.
Hector Garcia, like Mannbel, went hitless in
his last two games of the 2008 season.
The 18-year old third baseman went 3-for-18 (.167) with two runs, one
walk, two stolen bases, and three strike outs. His batting average took a couple small
steps back in the last ten games dropping to .282 which is good enough for
3rd on the team. The
Cardinals' July 1, 2007 free agent signee had a team-leading 20 errors for the
season and was 2nd with 37 strike outs.
Deimer Bier struggled in his only start for
the week. The 17-year old
right-hander started July 29 allowing five hits, three (earned) runs, two walks,
struck out one, and threw one wild pitch.
In his last eight starts he seemed to alternate having one good start and
have a sub-par outing the next.
This was his worst start in his last six on the mound. Bier had a great season, posting a 3-1
record with a 2.80 ERA walking 13 and striking out 37 over 61.1 innings.
Moises Colorado makes it another week on the not
list with his latest start. The
18-year old left-hander pitched August 1 allowing four hits, four runs (three
earned), two walks, hit one batter, struck out four and had two balks. Colorado seemed a little out of place in the
outing and in his last three appearances coughed up nine earned runs over 11.2
innings. The 6'3" 170 pounder did
however end the season as the Cardinals' strikeout leader with 62 over 43.1
innings, but had a 0-3 record.
Jackson Solarte had a horrible ending to his 2008
season. The 18-year old
right-hander made one relief appearance on July 31 giving up two hits, four
(earned) runs, two walks, and hitting one batter before being pulled after only
2/3 of an inning. The Cardinals'
2008 free agent signee came very close to blowing the game. In seven relief appearances, Solarte had
one were he didn't allow an earned run.
He ends the season with a 1-0 record, a 13.00 ERA, walked four and struck
out six over nine innings.
Missing in Action and a
Right-handed reliever Fabian Marquez last pitched on July 17.
MiLB finally corrected the Viloria
error. Carlos has been dropped and
Omar Viloria stands as the name on the roster. Omar was also listed on the VSL official
site, not Carlos. This was made
note of back on July 17 in the VSL reports. So finally some clarification. And adding, the 17-year old utility
player has been out of action since July 17.
The Cardinals' hitting ended the
season 7th in AVG (.246), 6th in runs (283),
7th in hits (553), 8th in doubles (82), tied for
5th in triples (12), 5th in home runs (23), 6th
in RBIs (230), 7th in total bases (728), 3rd in walks
(219), 2nd worst in strikeouts (444), 7th in stolen bases
(54), 5th in OBP (.328), 8th in SLG (.324), and
7th in OPS (.641).
The Cardinals' pitching ended the
season 5th in ERA (3.43), tied for 4th in shut outs (4),
tied for 5th in saves (14), 5th in hits allowed (577),
5th in runs allowed (310), 4th in earned runs (228), tied
for 6th in home runs allowed (16), 8th in hit batters
(50), 3rd in walks (237), 4th in strikeouts (412),
5th in WHIP (1.36), and tied for 2nd in holds
The team was out hit and out
scored in the end, putting them at a sub-.500 record for the 2008
Gerardo Mannbel: 8th with a .306 AVG,
6th with 71 hits, tied for 8th with 14 doubles,
8th with 99 total bases, 7th with a .401 OBP,
10th with a .427 SLG, and 6th with a .827
Alberto Rivero: 9th with a .302 AVG,
tied for 7th with 70 hits and tied for 9th with three
Anthony Fonseca: tied for 7th with 11
Geney Rios: 6th with a 2.49 ERA,
6th with 68.2 innings, 6th with 57 strikeouts, and
4th with a 1.00 WHIP.
Carlos Noguera: 7th with a 2.57
Yonathan Gonzalez: tied for 2nd with one
complete game, 4th with nine saves, and 2nd with 25 game
Moises Colorado: tied for 2nd with 62
Deimer Bier: 7th with a 1.05
Fernando Cedeno: tied for 2nd with four
Miguel Lopez and Carlos Oraa: tied for
4th with others with three holds.
* Stats do not reflect August
2nd game. Sorry for any
confusion on the "ended the season" words, but this gives an idea of where the
team pretty much ended the season.
Stats probably will not be adjusted until the day after or on the same
day this report is posted.
With the season over, we all
should look forward to possibly seeing a few of these players show up for the
St. Louis Cardinals' 2008 Instructional League, in Jupiter, in the fall and
especially in the Venezuelan Parallel League during the winter.
Venezuelan Summer League Official
MiLB Cardinals' VSL Site: link
Venezuelan Parallel League
Official Site: http://www.ligaparalela.com.ve/ (League play
should open in October; more info coming later)
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